Battery Earn Three Points in Crucial 4-3 Victory Over Hartford
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery got back in the win column Sunday against Hartford Athletic in front of a record crowd at Patriots Point. The Battery found the back of the net three times with an added own-goal committed by Hartford to secure three points in the 4-3 victory. Nicque Daley registered his second brace of the season, with both goals coming in the first half. The Athletic made a late comeback, but were held off by the Battery, who kept their playoff ambitions intact. The club celebrated the win in front of a record Patriots Point crowd of over 3,700 fans.
Before the teams had even kicked off, anticipation for this match was high as the winner would keep their playoff hopes alive and the loser would be eliminated. The scoring opened in the 2nd minute when pressure from the Battery forced a Hartford own goal that saw the hosts take an early 1-0 advantage. It was the second time in as many games the Battery’s press forced an own goal. Charleston doubled their lead just moments later when Nicque Daley found the back of the net in the 10th minute. Daley made a skillful move on a pass from Romario Piggott to turn and send the ball past everyone.
The Battery appeared eager to get after the Hartford defense and seize on the momentum of their strong start. Claudio Repetto nearly added his name to the scoresheet in the 16th minute when he was on the receiving end of a Piggott through ball for a shot on target that was saved by goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Hartford began to create momentum of their own by testing goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky, who made a diving save on a shot from Preston Tabort Etaka moments later. After plenty of back-and-forth movement from both sides, the Battery broke through again in the 43rd minute when Daley sent a Repetto pass into the net for his seventh goal of the season. Hartford got one back in stoppage time when Piggott was credited with an own goal to make the score 3-1 heading into the break.
The second half opened with much of the same intensity from the first 45 minutes. Hartford looked to regain ground when Derek Dodson fired a shot that required another Kuzminsky save, AJ Paterson ultimately cleared the ball from the goal line to complete the denial. A decisive moment came in the 58th minute when Hartford captain Danny Barrera was shown his second yellow card of the afternoon and was sent off. Charleston did not hesitate to seize on the one-man advantage as Burke Fahling fired home Charleston’s fourth goal. The shot came from roughly 30 yards out and snuck past Lampson’s dive at the near post following a bounce.
The Battery worked to hold the 4-1 advantage as the second half progressed. Hartford, however, continued to fight for their playoff hopes. Juan Carlos Obregon helped sustain those ambitions with a goal from inside the box in the 81st minute. Hartford continued to press on and found a third goal in the 88th minute via Kecan Hot. With a one-goal advantage, the Battery looked to add some insurance and thwart Hartford’s comeback attempts. Josh Penn came close to putting the game away in stoppage time with a strong shot from the right side of the box, but the attempt was too tall and rocked off the crossbar. The Battery held on to secure the victory while keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Following the match, Battery Head Coach Michael Anhaeuser said he was happy to see his team achieve another victory.
“It’s great to be in the win column, three points at home with a great crowd, it was fantastic,” said Anhaeuser. “We made it difficult though, letting them back in there with 10 guys. You have to give [Hartford] credit, but hanging on and getting three points, that’s huge for us and you never know what can happen from here.”
Coach Anhaeuser cited the team’s early press that helped force the own goal and helped them build an early lead.
“We were able to put pressure [on Hartford], we wanted to bring out the pressure right away,” said Anhaeuser. “The guys got the pressure and forced [Hartford] to make that bad pass that started us off.”
The team will shift their focus to their next game, a road duel against Charlotte Independence in another crucial meeting.
“You’ve got to get the first one, anytime it’s just like a new season, that’s what we tried to say,” said Anhaeuser. “We wanted to play it like it was our first game. We got the win, no matter how it happened, it’s three points. If we can go and win five more times, it’s an opportunity for these guys and we’ll have to go after every point.”
Saturday’s road trip to Charlotte will be the season finale against the Independence and the deciding game for this year’s Southern Derby cup. The Battery hold the 1-0 advantage in this year’s edition of the derby after defeating Charlotte in the first leg on July 23. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m., October 16 at American Legion Memorial Stadium.